Giant tree- Heterophragma quadrilolculare
Greetings from the Western Ghats of India!
We are glad to share that our field team did a splendid job as regards searching for the giant trees in the last quarter. They mapped total 131 Giant trees comprising of some 25 different species in four blocks of Sindhudurg and Kolhapur district in the northern Western Ghats. More importantly the team engaged with local community members to understand the reasons behind healthy state of these trees. It turned out that about 70% of the mapped trees were standing tall and healthy due one single reason- these trees were worshipped by the local community. It is understood that some of the trees represent a local god or a spirit and hence will not be touched and will be never harmed.
After going through the dataset we found out that many of the trees species mapped are endemic to the Western Ghats and are also globally threatened. Moreover these trees contribute to conservation of other threatened species such as endemic birds and bees. All this helped us realize one thing very clearly and that is - very limited role of money in saving these wonders of Nature. It is a fact that unless local communities who are often the primary stakeholders in conservation are convinced about the importance of protecting nature and it becomes part of their cultural practice, it is very difficult to sustain conservation over generations. Giant trees provide the necessary and clear evidence for this hypothesis.
Having said this, it is equally important to reward these little known stewards of conservation for recognizing their contribution in conservation of this natural heritage. We came up of an idea of giving them certificate of appreciation for keeping this important tradition alive. The certificate will help the younger members of the community understand the importance of the giant trees and make them feel proud about these old but very important traditional practice of conservation- worshipping nature.
Your support was very useful as without that our team could not have travelled to the remote corners of the Western Ghats and meet these inspiring individuals - both stalwarts and the Giants.
Thank you very much
Mangifera indica-giant specimen
Malabar grey hornbill-forest farmer
Honey comb-indicators of forest health
Map of locations surveyed for Giant treesAttachments: